If you have not read parts 1 and 2 of Joyful Assurance, please do so before reading this final installment...and be sure and share it with your friends!
Joyful Assurance, Part 3
As we consider joyful assurance together we have already seen the necessity of experiencing Christ (1 John 1:1) and proclaiming Christ (1 John 1:2). Today, let us consider a third element that is necessary for us to experience true joy: fellowship with Christ. 1 John 1:3 says, “what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.’
Fellowship with Christ v3
John, and his fellow apostles proclaim what they have seen and heard: Eternal life through Jesus Christ. Why? So that those who hear and receive can have fellowship. But this is not just any fellowship. This is fellowship with the apostles. Is that not an amazing thought? You and I can some how have fellowship with Peter, James, and John. We can somehow, someway, through Christ commune with the disciples. That would be the most amazing thing ever if John had stopped there…but he didn’t. He goes on.
Our communion, he says, is with the Father and with the Son. We get to commune with John and the disciples, who are communing with God the Father and with the Son. So, in some way, we get to fellowship with and commune with God the Father, and with Jesus Christ Himself. This is absolutely unbelievable!
Consider Matthew 17:1-8.
Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. 2 And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. 4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified. 7 And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, “Get up, and do not be afraid.” 8 And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone.
In an sense, we are in the midst of the transfiguration, communing with Moses, Elijah, Peter, James, John, Jesus Himself and the Father…but we are not hiding in fear and uncertainty. We are in the middle of this fellowship! What Joy!
It is no wonder John writes in verse 4, “These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.”
Our joy can be translated “our” or “your” depending on your translation. So, which is it? The simple answer it “both/and.” John could use the word “our” in reference to the apostles. He could say “your” in reference to his readers. Or he could say “our” and mean all of the above: the apostles and his readers, “all of us.” It is this meaning that I believe is most accurate. All of our joy will be made complete because of what I am writing.
That phrase, “made complete” could also be translated made permanently full or eternally full. This joy is always full, yet ever flowing. I have a friend who was a missionary in Africa. He spoke of two different types of wells in Botswana. One is a sediba well. This is a well that was dug. A bucket is lowered into the hole and water is pulled up and out of the sediba well. The other well is a motswedi. This is an artesian well which does not have to be dug, but instead pours out of the ground 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Believers can be described as motswedi wells. The water flows freely. Unfortunately many professing believers are more like sedibas. The pastor or teacher or leaders have to send buckets down and pull everything out of them. They don’t produce or flow on their own. This is not what Jesus described in John 7:37-38. We read, “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” True believers are motswedi wells! The living water flows. We experience Christ. We proclaim Christ. We fellowship with Christ. And we have joy! John Piper put it this way: “The best news of the Christian gospel is that the supremely glorious Creator of the universe has acted in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection to remove every obstacle between us and himself so that we may find everlasting joy in seeing and savoring his infinite beauty.”
This is a picture of the joyful assurance of eternal life! Does it describe you? If not, I would ask; have your really experienced Christ? Are you proclaiming Him? Are you in fellowship with Him? This is where joy is found…and it is the beginning of joyful assurance.
If you want to know more about what it means to know Christ in this way, check out the resources HERE. Finally, you can listen to the entire sermon and download a PDF of the sermon notes along with some small group questions HERE if you can benefit from them or use them. Until next time, share this with your friends on social media....but more importantly sit down and share it face to face!